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Police investigating death of Iron County Jail inmate

Investigators are looking into what precipitated the death of an Iron County Jail inmate, police said Tuesday.
Investigators are looking into what precipitated the death of an Iron County Jail inmate, police said Tuesday.
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CEDAR CITY — Investigators are looking into what precipitated the death of an Iron County Jail inmate, police said Tuesday.

The man, whose identity was not released as of Tuesday, died Dec. 6 — one day after being booked into jail.

Cedar City police detective Mike Bleak, who is also the commander of the Iron County Critical Incident Task Force that is investigating the case, said the jail staff discovered him unresponsive, determined he was in cardiac arrest and began trying to resuscitate him.

Emergency responders arrived and continued to try to save the man, Bleak said. Those efforts continued at Cedar City Hospital, where the man later died, according to the detective.

The man is believed to be a transient in the western United States who had arrived on a bus from the Salt Lake City area before being arrested Dec. 5. Police have been unable to contact any of the man's family members, Bleak said, so they are currently withholding his name.

The man was taken to Cedar City Hospital by a Parowan police officer for a mental health evaluation. While there, he "became disorderly," Bleak said, and was arrested by Cedar City police for investigation of disorderly conduct and trespassing.

The hospital cleared the man's physical and psychological health before he was booked into jail, according to Bleak. He made no indications of being suicidal and was not on suicide watch at the jail, the detective said.

Preliminary autopsy findings indicate no obvious cause of death, but police are waiting for a full report of the results.

"It's just kind of a mystery," Bleak said. "We're waiting to determine what the actual cause of death was before we can really investigate any further."